Mycelium: Nature’s Internet

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The root system of the mushroom is a white, thread-like net call mycelium. The vegetative part of the mushroom, fungal mycelium is like nature’s internet.

The roots of plants are often connected at the cellular level to mycelium. These two organisms work together symbiotically by exchanging nutrients. Plants absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, convert the carbon into sugars, and allow them to pass into the mycelium beneath the soil. The fungi use these sugars to grow. In return, the fungal mycelium extracts growth nutrients from rocks and transfers them to the host plant.

In addition, plants not only use mycelium to obtain nutrients, but will also pass chemical messages to other plants in the area through the mycelium! Since the network of mycelium can cover a very large area, the chemical messages sent from the plants can travel very far–and very quickly.

Who would have thought that the modern day information super-highway would extend to the mushroom world as well?